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The Rector's Daughter (Modern Classics) Paperback – 31 May 1973


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (31 May 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140035753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140035759
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,092,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

it is elegant and flexible, most fluently expressing every shade of human emotion (Susan Hill)

The most exquisitely written, delicate, passionately felt and haunting book I have ever read (Elizabeth Buchan) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

*'Her work is certainly far too little known in relation to the greatness of her talent. But her masterpiece THE RECTOR'S DAUGHTER, is in print again' SUSAN HILL

*A wonderfully moving, harrowing but ultimately uplifting novel of love.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
DEDMAYNE is an insignificant village in the Eastern counties. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By booksetc on 16 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
'Mary thought of her busy, happy life. She compared it to Kathy's fullness; it seemed starvation...'
This beautifully written, minutely observed novel will break your heart (and if you are a middle-aged spinster make you thankful that you are unmarried in the 21st century and not in the years after the Great War.)
Mary, the rector's daughter, is only in her mid-30s, dowdy, devotedly loyal to her chilly Victorian father, determinedly cheerful. Her quiet, mostly contented life is shattered when she falls in love; she is held in the man's arms and kissed ... but only once. When her father dies, Mary's life expands and, in a way, she blossoms; she is embraced into the world of Unnecessary Females - all those busy, active, organising but unfulfilled English spinsters of her generation.
But just as fascinating and beautifully observed is the unsuitable marriage of brash, thick-skinned Kathy and the austere clergyman who - on the face of it - should have married Mary.
Flora M Mayor knew from experience the heart-aching loneliness of the unmarried and childless; over 30, she was devastated when her own fiance died of typhoid /malaria as they were making their wedding plans.
Her book will haunt you.

Postscript, Sept 2009: I see that Susan Hill, in her thought-provoking and very readable new book Howards End is on the Landing (a book about books and reading) has placed The Rector's Daughter in her final 40 of books that she couldn't live without. Which places it in some very fine company indeed.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By C.GASTER on 5 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
From its opening pages, with their introduction to Dedmayne and to Mary, this book takes over my heart. The setting, the characters and the time are so exquisitely portrayed that they make this a book to live in, so that you can touch and smell the landscape and feel all of Mary's emotions as she falls in love and yet is doomed to live on as the rector's spinster daughter, performing all the relentless duties which that role involves.
Although I know this novel almost by heart, I always find something new on every re-reading - most recently I have realised how minutely FM Mayor examines the marriage of Mr Herbert and Kathy and I am always moved by the other relationships which are explored: father and daughter, servant and mistress, rector and parish.
There is also gentle humour in this novel and occasionally a curious sense of understatement, so that it is at times like a passionate version of "Cranford" with men added.
FM Mayor's prose has not a word out of place and her descriptions of the East Anglian countryside are reminiscent of Emily Bronte's evocations of Yorkshire.
To re-phrase a line from this most perfect of novels:
God bless Flora for ever for having given us this gem.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By LCL on 15 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought a copy of The Rector's Daughter after hearing Susan Hill putting forward the novel as a `neglected classic' on Radio 4's Open Book programme. Having just finished the book I regret to say that my main feeling is one of disappointment.. F M Mayor does indeed effectively portray the problems of Mary's position as a middle aged spinster in an English village in the early 1900s, and the relationship between Mary and her elderly clergyman father is often touching and well drawn. But unfortunately I found the other characters in the book to be at best dull (Robert Herbert and Dora) and at worst irritating (Kathy and her `set', who have names like Jim-Jam and Cocky and use words like 'topping' and `beastly' ). I believed in Mary and had some sympathy for her, but the novel never really gripped me and I struggled to finish it.
I was interested to read that a previous reviewer felt that the novel had `shades of Trollope' , as I have also just read `Miss McKenzie', which was another of Radio 4's `neglected classics'. There are certain similarities beween the two novels (both are about unmarried women in middle age who have spent much of their lives looking after members of their family), but I much preferred 'Miss McKenzie' with its engaging central character and well-observed touches of humour.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Joan Watson on 13 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a find! Just when you were wishing Jane Austen had written more, this book has a renaissance and fills the void. A charming book; well-observed and a reminder to us emancipated women how subserviant and hamstrung by the rules of society women were in that age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. M. Connolly on 12 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book came well recommended, so I was surprised to have been slightly disappointed.I did not take to the heroine, sadly, nor did I find her and her father very credible characters. Having grown up in a clerical household, they didn't really ring true, but then, it is set some years ago, when things were very different. I felt that Canon Jocelyn resembled a more academic Mr Woodhouse, laced with other derivative characteristics. I did not warm to the hero either. Once he had married someone else, I did wish Mary would find someone else too. I did not empathise with her fondness for windy unpleasant weather. What a pity to go to live with an old aunt in Croydon and become a young 'old lady' at less than 40.
I have read Freya Stark's autobiography 'Traveller's Prelude' this week since finishing 'The Rector's Daughter'.She underwent worse trials than Mary, but came out with her spirit still lively and in tact and took off to Arabia.
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